As the deadline of August 30 approaches for California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) compliance I continue to be amazed at the general disregard which many business owners seem to be taking with regard to their responsibilities, exposure and substantial financial risk associated under the oft misunderstood measure. Many half efforts by business owners will result in Prop 65 penalties and litigation based upon lawsuits by plaintiff’s attorneys.
I was recently in a major retail store here in San Diego with locations across California and the United States shopping for a clutch bag which was to be a gift. While examining one of the purses under consideration I noted a written tag on the purse which said:
“This product is in compliance with prop 65 and contains no lead or nickel.”
I have serious concerns regarding many of California’s manufacturers, producers, distributors, online and catalog sales companies and direct or retail sales organizations and stores who are attempting to bypass their Prop 65 exposure by coming up with a label or sticker which “ought to do.” This simply will not meet the “Clear and Reasonable Warning” standards under Prop 65. While it is very likely the product in question probably did not contain lead or nickel, clutch purses almost certainly contain other chemicals listed within the hundreds of hazardous substances listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment or OEHHA such as Phthalates which have a very low threshold for causing cancer or exposing consumers to reproductive risks.
While the warning in this case may have been a clever attempt to come into Proposition 65 compliance by one of the business owners within the production or distribution chain, I am very concerned that many of these very clever attempts will fail to throw off plaintiff’s counsel from the 60 day notice and avoid Prop 65 penalties and litigation exposure. The potential for revenue and/or profit is simply too high for both the OEHHA and plaintiff’s counsel.
Business owners in San Diego and across California cannot genuinely expect these types of efforts to succeed. We are concerned that most will fail to dissuade the OEHHA and plaintiffs counsel resulting in substantial financial liabilities associated with Prop 65 penalties and litigation expenses. We invite you to contact Allen Barron to learn more about your requirements under the law for genuine California Proposition 65 compliance or call 866-631-3470 for a free consultation.